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Louis Allday


Remembering Husayn Muruwwah, the ‘Red Mujtahid’

[Husayn with his wife, Fatima, 1980. With thanks to Ghassan Nasser]

On 17 February 1987, during one of the bloodiest periods of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the prominent journalist, literary critic, intellectual, and activist Husayn Muruwwah (or Hussein Mroué[i]) was assassinated at his home in Ramlet al-Baida, West Beirut. Muruwwah left Lebanon at the age of fourteen to train at the Najaf hawza (seminary) in Iraq. He intended to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a respected religious scholar and cleric. Yet after a ...

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An A-Z of Arabic Propaganda: The British Government's Arabic-Language Output during WWII

[Abjad al-ḥarb -

Throughout the Second World War, Britain’s Ministry of Information (MOI) produced and disseminated a remarkable assortment of propaganda material in Arabic. The material that it produced was intended to counter pro-Axis sentiment in the Arab World and bolster support for Britain and its allies. This propaganda effort arose largely in response to the German and Italian Governments’ own large scale propaganda campaigns that, with some success (more so Germany than Italy), ...

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Britain's "Interest" in Bahrain: Legal Fictions and the Logic of Empire


In 1783, the Al Khalifa family—originally from the Najd region of what is now Saudi Arabia—captured the islands of Bahrain from Shaykh Nasr Al Madhkur, who had ruled them on behalf of the Qajar dynasty of Persia. In 1926, over one hundred and fifty years later, the status of Bahrain’s sovereignty remained a contentious issue. In December of that year, G. R. Warner, a British diplomat in London, wrote to a colleague in India stating that “on political grounds it is of great ...

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"The Amir of Bahrain and the Beautiful Scottish Lady": Political Satire in the Arab World

[A 1935 two-annas Indian stamp from the British Raj, depicting George V, overprinted with

The Arab world has a rich satirical tradition that has appeared in numerous forms throughout its history, ranging from satirical al-hija1 poetry of the pre-Islamic era to the satirical newspaper Abou Naddara Zarqa, published in late nineteenth-century Cairo by the Jewish Egyptian polyglot Yaqub Sanu. Throughout the twentieth century, satire flourished in theatrical form and the political cartoons of Ali Ferzat and Naji al-Ali as well as in the widespread circulation and ...

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Louis Allday

Louis Allday is a PhD candidate at the Department of History, SOAS. His doctoral research relates to the British Government's presence in the Persian Gulf until 1971, with an emphasis on its educational activities and cultural propaganda. He currently works as a Gulf History and Arabic Language Specialist on a large-scale digitization project at the British Library in London. His Twitter handle is @Louis_Allday.